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The Caine Mutiny
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The Caine Mutiny

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  11,286 ratings  ·  476 reviews
Upon its original publication in 1951, this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was immediately embraced as one of the first serious works of fiction to help readers grapple with the human consequences of World War II. In the intervening half-century, Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining story of life-and mutiny-on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater has achi...more
Hardcover, 498 pages
Published 1951 by Doubleday
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Jeffrey Keeten
It is conceivable that most unusual and extraordinary circumstances may arise in which the relief from duty of a commanding officer by a subordinate becomes necessary, either by placing him under arrest or on the sick list; but such action shall never be taken without the approval of the Navy Department or other appropriate higher authority, except when reference to such higher authority is undoubtedly impracticable because of the delay involved or for other clearly obvious reason...

Herman Wouk...more
Tuco Markham
My favorite Pulitzer Prize winning fiction novel. Why?? It is set in World War II and it just tells a story, no deep intellectual meaning, no homosexual subtext, no infidelity, no sex, no profanity for profanity's sake, etc. etc. Just a good story and in the end you don't know who you want to "root" for.
Top Ten Reasons to Give The Caine Mutiny a Chance

10. Wouk's clear, compelling, Pulitzer Prize winning prose.

9. The boredom of military service, even in wartime, has never been so interesting.

8. The USS Caine DMS feels like home -- no matter who's in command.

7. The ineluctable build of Queeg's collapse.

6. Willie's slow and certain becoming.

5. Keefer's behaviour insuring that no side is "right."

4. The best novelized military trial ever written.

3. The complexity of Wouk's characters, even when the...more
An all time favorite book of mine anyway, The Caine Mutiny holds even more personal significance for me because I saw the play performed in London over twenty years ago when I was still dating my husband. Charlton Heston starred as the enigmatic Queeg and I just learned that this production is written up on Wikipedia. Although sometimes maligned for not being reliable, in this case Bear and I can attest to the reliability of at least that much of the article.*

The Caine Mutiny is a fascinating l...more
Jeff Miller
Wow just wow.

First time I have read this one, although have seen the movie oh so many times. This review assumes you have seen the movie, if not don't read ahead.

The film version is brilliant and certainly captures some aspects of the book. The film and the book both have the sucker-punch involving involving the speech by the lawyer Greenwald after most of the book deals with the crew and the infamous Captain Queeg.

The novel though has a different narrative through the eyes of "Willie" Keith. An...more
Natylie Baldwin
It wasn't until I got about 2/3 of the way through that I realized this was a 5-star book.

The book has its flaws: there is some extraneous material in the first half that could have been cut down, there are a few instances of an awkward secondary character point of view, and there is a generous sprinkling of those pesky adverbs that everyone seems to equate with literary leprosy these days.

But the events immediately preceding the mutiny, the actual mutiny itself and the subsequent court martia...more
I put off reviewing this book for way too long because I wanted to do it justice. Now it's been months since I finished it, and so my review will be lacking accordingly. But, I can say without reservation that I highly recommend this book. I enjoyed it immenseley, and it met the three criteria for a 5-star book: It entertained me, it made me think, and it made me feel.
I decided to read this book because it was lodged somewhere in my mind as one of those "books you should read." Also, there is a...more
Mike (the Paladin)
In many ways this is a difficult book, at least to categorize and/or rate. It was also a difficult read for me at times, by turns absorbing, slightly boring, almost exciting, very infuriating, frustrating and thought provoking.

I suppose most will know at least the outline of the story here as it's not only a novel, but a play and a movie. I'll still try to avoid spoilers here for those who haven't run across it in any form. Let me say that the book doesn't fall easily into one category. It's a...more
This story took place during World War II and told the story of the mine sweeper The Caine and its crew. I had to constantly remind myself that the book was fiction. Never once lost interest in the story. Very good book that I would recommend to all.
There are many remarkable things about the book, but the best for me is the authors' ability to hide where his true sympathies lie. More than the grandiose court scene and sharp lawyer/witness repartees that permanently shaped the Hollywood, the mostly eventless but still dangerously combating naval life during the wartime, the phenomenally crazy yellow stain/strawberry/shirt tail episodes and powerful characters, the author walks away with glory in twisting the right and wrong of the mutiny in...more
Robert Palmer
This novel by Wouk was published in 1951 and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1952.most people have seen the movie and many who have not might still know of Captain Queeg , but you still have to read the book to know the whole story. This book has many different genres such as romance,suspense,adventure,coming of age and of course court room drama. The first charter we meet is Ensign Willie Keith who is from a very well to do family and his girl friend May Wynn daughter of Italian immigrants and not...more
I wasn't expecting such a very enjoyable read! Vivid characterization, plenty of funny moments, palpable tension, realistic detail (without technobabble)... Also enjoyable was the lack of unnecessary content- no graphic sex, very limited and mild swearing (there's plenty of "he swore," of course, this being a maritime story), no attempt to put a modern "spin" on things. Nor did the author feel it necessary to make his audience miserable by the end of the book, either by using a jaded "life's hel...more
Daniel Villines
Much like the main character of The Caine Mutiny, Willis Keith, I served in the Navy as a reservist on active duty during our first conflict with Iraq and observed (and experienced) many of the eccentric, illogical, and wasteful processes employed by the Navy. As with the crew of the USS Caine, I recall a few endless pre-dawn mornings where we were instructed to move at full speed from one place to the next only to spend the rest of the day waiting for our next set of instructions. I also served...more
Anish Dutta
Herman Wouk's Pulitzer winning novel, The Caine Mutiny, provides a brilliant insight into the moral and ethical dilemmas that a high-ranking commanding officer has to face during combats. This is a highly engaging character study where Wouk creates characters with sharply contrasting character traits and showcases their reactions to a range of situations.

I will avoid discussing plot points here so as to not give away spoilers. Instead I will focus on Wouk's writing style. His prose is intense,...more
Jon Cardwell
As great as that movie was (and is, in my humble opinion), I believe the book was much better, and was in a way, much different.

The story is a masterpiece of fiction and it’s as novel as the book itself. The book reflects upon the general courts-martial of Lieutenant Stephen Maryk and Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Willis Keith who are tried for the charge making a mutiny onboard the U.S.S. Caine, a battle-scarred Destroyer Minesweeper (DMS), homeported at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and forward deployed fo...more
Paul Lima
What a great book. Thought we'd start on a boat in disarray and the crew would mutiny and all hell would break loose. It's a much more subtle and complex book than that -- looking at the lives of a number of characters. Takes place during WWII and the mutiny doesn't happen until 2/3s of the way through the book -- it is on a U.S. navy ship -- and is followed by a trial of the mutineer. The book was written in the 40s but it almost feels contemporary. It is an indictment of the navy -- any large...more
Jackie Whaley
An absolutely engaging book. I followed the life of Willy Keith as he matured over the course of three years in the Navy during WWII. I saw into a life that started with self-centeredness and immaturity and developed into self-awareness and maturity. This transformation was presented through Willy's own thoughts, and also through his actions and interactions. The characters of captain Queeg and May Win were well developed, as was Keefer's which I learned to really dislike. The book was not all a...more
Jayne Charles
I was in the school library at the age of 14 and about to borrow an Enid Blyton (at the age of 14! The shame of it!!) when my English teacher Mrs Straughan saw me, tut-tutted loudly and gave me this book instead. I was horrified. Some piece of historical fiction about some Americans in the Navy in World War II. So far out of my comfort zone it might as well have been on Mars. 'You'll really enjoy it', Mrs Straughan assured me. And she was right. Not only did I enjoy it the first time, I enjoyed...more
This is one of those books in which you, yourself, live for as long as it takes to read the whole book. Wouk's forthright manner is detailed, but not verbose. His sense of humor is subtle and wry. There is a believable balance of the mental and the emotional in the narrative and the story feels complete when the book ends.
This was much better than I had anticipated though I don't know why I say that. The prose is workmanlike and, of course, it's too long, but there is real power here, and Captain Queeg, is an amazing creation, Nixonian before Nixon.
Sara E.
This novel is stunning. It takes you right into the action with enough Navy jargon so you feel you're there, but not so much you need to brush up before reading. A tale of the Caine, Willie, Captain Queeg, and many others. At times you think, "This man is a friggin' nutjob." At other times, you (view spoiler) begin to question your previous thinking. I fully recommend it.

I am looking forward to watching the classic film version soon. Sadly, I know that, no mat...more
I have not enjoyed a novel this much in years! The CAINE MUTINY is one of those old-school novels that takes just enough time to allow readers to actually care about the scenes and characters. What an excellent story. I found it hard to put down and found myself thinking about the characters as if they were real people. What a contrast to contemporary please-option-my-book-for-a-movie-novels, that rush and rush and you completely forget the story and the characters as soon as you close the final...more
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Justin Brooks
This is undoubtedly one of the best novels that I have read in quite a while. Wouk does an excellent job of portraying military life as a long period of boredom and tedium occasionally punctuated by heart-attack inducing excitement and panic. The mundane challenges faced by Lieutenant Kieth, being awoken constantly, dealing with incompetent officers, trying to get some decent coffee, etc., give the reader a feel for how unstimulating normal life would be an a U.S. warship. Contrast that with bur...more
I picked-up another long book – but I certainly didn’t want it to end. Easy wonder that this was won the Pulitzer Prize!

The Bogart movie was a good one but, as expected, the novel was much more. There were a number of intertwining themes…youth to maturity, leadership, military life (varying views)…It was certainly part of World War II that I never before considered.

Willie Keith is a Princeton grad who yearns to be an academic. He’s spoiled, soft and immature; not a sailor/warrior – but an “every...more
Although my Dad is usually a pretty good judge of what books I might like, I think he kind of missed the mark here--to be honest with you, I can't for the life of me figure out why he would have recommended the Caine Mutiny to me. It gets 3 stars from me because it was a good book--but I just didn't, in any way, connect with the book or its characters.

The book follows a recent college graduate from a wealthy, pampered background, as he enters the Navy during WWII (to avoid the draft). Despite so...more
I came at this having been blow away by Wouk's Winds of War duology, and was ignorant of the plot (not having seen the Humphrey Bogart film). As much of a tautology as it sounds, one cannot fully appreciate The Caine Mutiny until completing the whole thing: at one moment I was asking myself if it was supposed to be a comedy, but by the end many of a dark, didactic tones present in the Winds books were more evident.

The starring aspect of Mutiny is its unpredictability, not just in plot but in ton...more
This book surprised me! I was not expecting anything from it, and have heard about it for years on end, but Wouk's description of the petty tyrant, the good soul, the sympathetic commander are all classic themes and thrown in with a twist. This is not so much a war novel as it is a tale of humor and human breakdowns. I have never seen the movie, but as I understand it is a classic, I now am inclined to do so.
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Well, it's not perfect but it's closer to a 5 star than 4 star book. I am shocked at how much I liked it. Did not expect to enjoy a book written in the 50s about men on a Navy ship during WW2 but the characters were fascinating and well developed. The stories of the typhoon, the mutiny and the trial later were all nail biters. I guess there is a reason why some books are considered classics. This didn't even seem dated, despite the some of the funny terms used ("give me the straight dope" for in...more
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Literary Fiction ...: artist's books 67 41 Oct 19, 2014 07:51PM  
Catching up on Cl...: The Caine Mutiny Discussion-Spoilers 4 25 Sep 11, 2012 12:34PM  
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Herman Wouk is a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning Jewish American author with a number of notable novels to his credit, including The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance.

Herman Wouk was born in New York City into a Jewish family that had emigrated from Russia. After a childhood and adolescence in the Bronx and a high school diploma from Townsend Harris High School, he earned...more
More about Herman Wouk...
The Winds of War (The Henry Family, #1) War and Remembrance (The Henry Family, #2) Marjorie Morningstar Don't Stop the Carnival The Hope (The Hope and the Glory, #1)

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“This life is slow suicide, unless you read.” 21 likes
“The Navy is a master plan designed by geniuses for execution by idiots. If you are not an idiot, but find yourself in the Navy, you can only operate well by pretending to be one. All the shortcuts and economies and common-sense changes that your native intelligence suggests to you are mistakes. Learn to quash them. Constantly ask yourself, "How would I do this if I were a fool?" Throttle down your mind to a crawl. Then you will never go wrong.” 10 likes
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